SOUTH BETHLEHEM – At Monday evening’s regular monthly meeting, the South Bethlehem borough council once again discussed traffic issues along South Street between Route 28/66 and Allison Street. Further signage and paving projects were also pondered.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, residents Michael Moore, Bruce Nolan and Lynne Tharan said that, while larger and newer stop signs seem to have reduced the number of motorists blowing through intersections, heedless drivers still present a danger to neighborhood children playing the street.
“The good news is, the kids have started keeping an eye out for one another, yelling ‘Car!’ when a vehicle is coming up the street,” Nolan said.
Council vice president Mike Tharan said that more warning signs have been ordered and will be posted along South Street between Allison Street and Putneyville Road. Additionally, more signs will be added to Hamilton Street.
According to residents, both South and Hamilton streets are used as shortcuts by motorists trying to avoid traffic backups on the sharp curve in Route 28/66.
Once again, the topic of installing speed bumps in certain areas of South and Hamilton streets was broached. Council member Jamie Travis said he is in favor of having one reinstalled on Hamilton Street in front of his house.
Council member Rolly Miller said that, after conducting a neighborhood survey, residents reported that many drivers still blow through stop signs despite the presence of speed bumps. Tharan said that not having them would open the borough to risks of lawsuits which could result in municipal bankruptcy.
“And if somebody sues us successfully,” Tharan said, “that would mean the end of South Bethlehem and we would end up as part of Mahoning Township.”
Mayor Randall Stahlman disagreed.
“We have all the signs up and are in compliance with the municipal code. We would be covered and not open to a successful lawsuit,” he said.
A motion to reinstall speed bumps at the corner of South and Allison streets was approved. In the past, the traffic control devices have been removed during the winter months to aid in snow removal.
Additional stop signs will be ordered to replace those missing on side streets and alleys. Within the borough’s jurisdiction, the signs will not have to comply with PennDOT standards. Those at intersections adjacent to state highways will.
Borough engineer Bob Grigas was not able to attend the meeting, but sent a progress report concerning the five Community Development Block Grant applications that South Bethlehem has filed for. Some or all of the grants, if approved, will help underwrite planned drainage and paving work on a segment of Cherry Alley.
Numerous other paving projects within the borough are out for bid, according to Tharan. Those costs will be covered by other funding sources.
The bulk of the project will be the repair and resurfacing of King Street for $27,892. The portion of Cherry Alley that does not require extensive drainage work will receive $10,374 for paving the section between Short and Allison streets. South Street repaving between Putneyville Road and Spruce Street will require $7,002, with a few remaining alleys being allocated about $3,000 each.
Council member Allen Dawson, South Bethlehem’s representative on the Redbank Valley Municipal Park board, said that the costs of repaving portions of the roadway through the park lies somewhere between $1,200 and $1,500. South Bethlehem, Porter Township, Redbank Township (Clarion County) and Hawthorn will split the cost among themselves.
Dawson, who is also the borough’s representative on the Redbank Valley Municipal Authority board, said that no definitive action was in the works for rehabilitating at least three inoperable fire hydrants along Broad Street. Some action is expected by the end of the year.
Council members also requested letters of concern to be sent to several property owners with dilapidated garages. Some are at risk of collapsing into alleyways and present a public safety hazard.